A planning application to build student flats at the Castle Hill Arcade in Bangor (the former Debenhams building) has been withdrawn by developers.

Bangor City Council had objected to the development on the grounds that it would be an over-development and that additional student accommodation in the area is unnecessary.

Previous plans to build 65 student flats at the site were rejected by Gwynedd Council after concerns about the amount of student housing in Bangor.

The new plans would have retained the ground floor of the building as retail units with the 49-bed student accommodation to the upper floors and an extension at the rear of the building.

The developer, John Sutton from Manchester, had said the project would help free up housing for local families and boost the city centre economy.

The planning statement said: “It is considered that by providing purpose built student accommodation, the housing stock which has been converted into Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and occupied by students can be returned back to their original purpose and be utilised as singular residential dwellings on the open market.

“This will contribute towards meeting the overall general housing need in Bangor, upgrade the quality of accommodation for students and agglomerate student accommodation reducing the sporadic pattern of units which occurs at present. This can ensure that the facilities students require can be provided in close proximity to their living quarters as they rarely rely on the private car.”

Existing Student Accommodation

The planning statement also assessed the amount of existing student accommodation in Bangor, estimating that Bangor University has approximately 3,650 bed spaces available in Bangor at the official halls situated at Ffriddoedd Village, St Mary’s Village and Neuadd Garth.

The private sector currently supplies approximately 800 student bed spaces at site like Ty Glyn, the former British Hotel and former Plaza Cinema.

656 houses in Bangor (9.9% of housing stock) are registered with the Housing Department as HMO (housing definition).

809 houses in Bangor (12.3% of housing stock) do not pay Council Tax (not all can be confirmed as students – but students are exempt from Council Tax).

453 houses in Bangor (6.8% of housing stock) are both in multiple occupation and do not pay Council Tax.

The total housing stock of Bangor is 6,597. Therefore a high percentage of the housing stock is taken up by HMO/housing not paying Council Tax.